Salinger exited the writing scene in 1955 with the two short stories "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" and "Seymour - An Introduction," his last published works.
"Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" takes place on Seymour's wedding day, from the perspective of his younger brother, Buddy. However, the story is not really about the wedding at all. It's about coping with life when you're a recluse. Those of you who know the story of Salinger's reclusive life are probably lying to yourself. Nobody knows the story, because that is precisely how he wants it. As a background, Salinger pulled the 1st edition of his famous novel "The Catcher in the Rye" in 1951 because there was a picture of him on the back panel. Salinger had never agreed to the photo, and it was subsequently removed in later editions. One of the only other pictures of Salinger in public circulation is courtesy of his daughter, who had apparently included the photo on her book to slight her father… and I anticipate, garner interest for herself. But, I digress.
Salinger is a master with characters. You cannot help but being intrigued with the lives of people in his novel. His mastery of the first person narrative allows you to relate to the character telling the story, and as such, the people you see through his eyes. That being said, the premise of the novel was very weak. He has made a few comments on the state of society in addition to a few points on what it means to be a reclusive personality. However, he never really explains why this condition arises. The emotion is not there, whereas it dripped from "The Catcher in the Rye" like melting snow on a warm day. Maybe the next short story, "And Seymour" will give me a glimpse into these emotions and answer the question "Why?"